Ninety percent of goods loaded on to road vehicles, inland vessels or trains in the Netherlands are subsequently transported across a distance of less than 300 kilometres. The shorter the distance, the larger the share of Dutch vehicles in road transport by. Ships and trains carry mainly sea containers and bulk goods such as sand, iron ore, diesel and coal.
Transported weight by distance, 2012
Road transport popular for short distances
Every year, over 900 million tonnes of goods are transported via Dutch roads, inland waterways and railways. The largest share is transported across short distances. Road transport in particular is used for distances up to 150 kilometres.
Dutch hauliers carry goods mainly over short distances. The longer the distance, the larger the share of foreign vehicles. Rail and water transport together account for a larger share of medium-range transport.
Share of road transport by region, transported weight 2012
Most goods for water and rail transport loaded in ports
A target set by the European Commission for 2030 aims to replace at least 30 percent of road transport across more than 300 kilometres by alternative modes of transport, such as rail or water. This is to rise to over 50 percent of these longer road distances by 2050.
Transport by road, inland waterways and rail is often observed together, as these are the three most-used transport modes for goods from Dutch ports to the hinterland. Goods transported by rail and inland waterways are mainly loaded in the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Just over sixty out of every hundred tonnes loaded on to inland craft in the Netherlands come from these ports. For trains this is more than eighty tonnes, and for road vehicles less than twenty.
Of the three modes of transport - road, water and rail - road transport is expanding most across Europe. In nearly half the countries in Europe, the only way goods from the Netherlands arrive is by road. The share transported by inland waterways is highest in Switzerland and Germany (Rhine) and Belgium (Scheldt), followed by France and Luxembourg (Rhine and Moselle) and Austria and Hungary (Danube). The share of goods carried by rail is larger for Italy on the other hand. Over 60 percent of all goods transported to Italy go by train.
Transported weight, 2012
Relatively more bulk goods and sea containers via water and rail
Trains and inland vessels mostly carry bulk goods and sea containers. Sand, gravel, coal, diesel, iron ore and sea containers account for three-quarters of the transported weight, compared with less than a quarter of the weight transported by road. Other goods transported mainly by road are groceries, packages, construction materials and agricultural products.